Washington, May 18 (PTI) The Trump administration today notified the Congress that it intends to begin renegotiating the North America Free Trade Agreement by August, making good on a campaign promise that was widely popular among voters.
United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in a letter notified the Congress that US President Donald Trump intends to renegotiate the NAFTA, a trade treaty entered into by the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Through these negotiations, the US seeks to support higher-paying jobs in the country and to grow its economy by improving opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico.
“We intend to notify not just Congress, but all our trading partners, that free and fair trade is the new standard for US trade deals,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
“Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless. President Trump is going to change that,” Ross said, adding that the US looks forward to working with Mexico and Canada, to find a solution that is fair for all parties.
In the letter to Congress, Lighthizer expresses the Trump administration’s commitment to concluding the negotiations with substantive results for US businesses and workers.
Negotiations, however, will begin no earlier than August 16.
“Today, President Trump fulfilled one of his key promises to the American people. For years, politicians have called for the renegotiation of this agreement, but President Trump is the first to follow through with that promise,” Lighthizer said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan welcomed the decision.
“The United States values its strong economic ties with Mexico and Canada, and these negotiations should work to enhance our trilateral trading relationship. Congress looks forward to working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration to achieve the best deal possible for American workers and our economy,” Ryan said in a statement.
However, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the vague NAFTA letter is a stark contrast with the aggressive promises Trump made during his presidential campaign.
“For all his rhetoric, President Trump looks to be sorely disappointing American workers on trade,” she said.
“Our trade agreements must be judged by whether they create jobs and grow the paychecks of hard-working Americans.
Any changes to NAFTA must put America’s working families first, and recognise the fundamental connection between commerce and climate,” Pelosi said.
The Software Alliance (BSA) welcomed the notification to Congress. “BSA commends the administration for its ambition to use the updating of NAFTA as an opportunity to address digital trade issues, such as cross-border data flows, which are crucial to job creation in the modern data economy.”
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.